The team put together by our London-based Managing Partner, Stephen Halloran, in relation to a significant football-related violent disorder trial at Luton Crown Court, ensured that two of the three clients represented by Lawtons Solicitors were found not guilty of the serious criminal offence of violent disorder. In fact, the client found guilty of violent disorder avoided a prison sentence and a Football Banning Order.
The case involved a significant outbreak of violence following a Luton Town v Bristol City match in October 2019. Due to COVID-related delays, the case only came to trial in May 2023. Of the original thirteen defendants charged, eight stood trial, with Lawton Solicitors representing three of those defendants.
Extensive case preparation and consideration of all the evidence, including hours of CCTV, ensured our clients were best placed to defend the charges they faced. Following a three-week trial, in which extensive use of CCTV evidence was made, not-guilty verdicts were returned for two of our clients.
In order to prepare for the sentencing hearing for the remaining client, Stephen used his knowledge of football-related case law to ensure that the approach ultimately adopted by the judge at the sentencing hearing resulted in a prison sentence being avoided and no Football Banning Order.
The Court agreed that a particular type of community Order (a Prohibited Activity Requirement) could be imposed to “ban” attendance at football matches for six months, as opposed to the minimum period of three years that is usual.
Prosecutions for football-related criminal cases are once again on the increase, with legislative changes and a new policy approach in place to increase the number of convictions and also make greater use of Football Banning Orders.
If you have found yourself in a similar situation, Stephen Halloran has extensive experience in this area and can advise on all stages of any football-related criminal case. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.